Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 5 years ago

Do emotional support dogs count as service animals?

I have a rental house on my property that has always been no dogs allowed. My newest tenant moved in about six months ago. Today I stopped by the house to do my biyearly check and noticed they now had a dog. When I brought up the signed lease agreement she said it didn't matter the dog is an ESA and is exempt from my rule. And that if I tried to evict them that she would have the right to sue me. I tried looking it up and got mixed answers online.

The main reason I am upset by this is that the dog has stained the carpeting in multiple spots and they had used training pads everywhere. I also noted when I there that they had 5 cats which was above the 2 they told me about. Though I did allow cats in the lease agreement with an addition to the rent per cat. This is a small 1 bedroom rental and I find it disturbing there is so many animals in the one house.


The rental property is in Nevada, US.

Update 2:

I had asked for proof and the lady told me that the dogs harness was all the proof she needed to show and that it was considered harassment to demand paperwork on an animal being a service dog. After this I just left.

14 Answers

  • 5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    A service animal is just that, and is a trained animal to assist handicapped persons, they are NOT pets.

    Support dogs do not meet the requirements of a service animal, and is effectively a pet, nothing more.

    Only registered service animals,by legal documentation, are exempt under federal law.(ADA certified)

    Just because a dog has a vest purchased from E-Bay does not count.

    There are a host of web sites that claim to certify an animal as a service animal, and those are not legal.

    Documentation not from the US government(ADA) has no validity at all.

    In your case, yes, you can uphold your written lease agreement unless the tenant produces federal documentation as a service animal.

    The is federal level law, superseding any state law. it does not vary by state.

    Source(s): Own property in Nevada.
  • 5 years ago

    You didn't say where this house is, so we can't guess what the laws there say about emotional service animals in rented premises, or whether ESAs have any legal status. If you're in the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not recognize ESAs as service animals the way it does, for example, a guide dog for a blind person.

    If your tenant is so sure of her rights in this matter, ask her to show you the relevant statutes and a letter from a medical doctor saying she has to have an ESA.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Esa dogs are not servive animals, but reasonable accomodation does have to be made for them in housing. In order to qualify as an esa the dog has to be prescribed from a mental health care provider. Ask to see that letter. Research the mental health provider that it is legitimate. There are plenty of scam esa animals, so doing research is reasonable.

    Look if there are local codes restricting number of animals.

    Get a pet deposit for potential damages. Even a real service dog doesn't mean you have to accept the dog causing damage.

  • CDog
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    Ask to see proof (a letter from a Dr.). So many people are abusing the ESA/Service dog laws. If they have no proof, give them the boot. Your house is being ruined.

    Add: As the Landlord, you have EVERY right to see the proof. If not, anyone could claim they had service dog or ESA. Not some fake purchased paper, a letter from a doctor. Even then, her dog is damaging your property. I'd talk to a real estate attorney. Good luck to you.

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  • 5 years ago

    No. They're just pets with the same restrictions as any other pet.

    Property managers/landlords are NOT required to make a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act for ESAs, Buildings with 4 or less units where the landlord occupies one of the units

    Single family housing sold or rented without a real estate broker.

    The one requirement for a person to legally qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA) is that the person has a letter from a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist -NOT the family doctor) on his/her letterhead that states the person is under his/her care, is emotionally or psychiatrically disabled, and prescribes for the person an emotional support animal. Without this letter, if the person presents an animal as an ESA, he/she is in violation of federal law; an offense punishable by fine and imprisonment, if convicted.

    A person with a disability may, however, be charged for damages caused to the premises by their emotional support.

    A disabled person who does not properly manage his/her unruly, destructive, aggressive, or disturbance causing animal can be evicted.

  • 5 years ago

    Yes they do count as service dogs

    And a security deposit is in place when a person rents in case there is damage to your place.

    As far as the carpeting goes, i think that's terrible!! I also think five cats is a bit much for anyone at all!

    I hope things work out

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    No Service dogs are specially and professionally trained to a very high standard to be of great help for the disabled,

    Emotional problems are by no means a physical disability. And anyone can train a dog to hug when they are emotionally upset. An esd can be a street mongrel... A service dog is specially bred normally by the organisation that trains them and have to pass a complex selection to even enter their training. esd's are often claimed to be service dogs but in reality often also used to get around tenancy rules... They are also refused entry by most businesses and shops. It would however be illegal in mean places to refuse entry to a genuine service dog.

  • 5 years ago

    The dog has rights but it's not a service animal.

    If there's damages you can likely evict.

  • 5 years ago

    read this. It's the fair housing act.

    An ESA is considered an assistance animal.

    The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, commonly known as FHA, requires apartments and housing communities that ordinarily restrict pets to make “reasonable accommodation” for ESAs. In short, that means that verified ESA owners cannot be denied housing, just as individuals in a wheelchair or with a disability cannot be denied housing based on their condition.

    In order to be protected by FHA laws, the ESA owner must have a diagnosed disability and provide documentation to the property owner or housing representative.

    The benefits to FHA laws include the fact that property owners cannot charge an advance deposit or fees for ESAs. ESA owners should note, however, that if significant damage is done, or if it becomes apparent that the animal is being neglected, the property owner might be able to recoup fees later.

    Property owners also cannot question the disability, require the animal to wear identification as an ESA, or refuse housing. In short, FHA laws protect verified ESA owners who properly care for the animal but may not protect owners who are negligent or destructive.

    Emotional support animals are not restricted to dogs. In fact, ESAs can be most any variety of animal. What is important is that the ESA and the owner have a special relationship that genuinely offers emotional support and wellbeing.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    And ESA is not a service dog under the law. However ESA's have "some" rights as long as they are prescribed to you by a medical professional and you can present this doctors letter to a landlord, for example

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